Saakashvili supporters free him from police van after detention in Kiev

Saakashvili supporters free him from police van after detention in Kiev

Saakashvili supporters free him from police van after detention in Kiev

Later, the law enforcers detained Saakashvili and put him in an SBU van, but a crowd of the politician, who is now challenging Ukraine's decision on stripping him of Ukrainian citizenship, have blocked the vehicle from driving away.

Two days ago, he led a march in Kiev calling for the president to be impeached.

"This is Ukraine's headache and I don't wish this upon an enemy", he said answering a question if Moscow takes any side in Saakashvili's standoff with Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko.

As police arrived to detain Mikheil Saakashvili at his home in Kiev on Tuesday morning he went up on the roof to protest, attracting a crowd of supporters downstairs. Ukrainian prosecutors accuse him of colluding with Ukrainian businessmen who have ties to Russian intelligence as part of an effort to topple the president.

He served as one-time governor of the Odessa region after being appointed by Mr Poroshenko in 2015. One protester climbed atop the van and waved the Ukrainian flag. "Call your family and neighbors, let them all come here, let's all stand together". He left the country in 2013.

The former Georgian leader had turned himself into a Ukrainian opposition figure and returned to the country after being stripped of his citizenship while in Poland.

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Read alsoSaakashvili freed by supporters (Video)The SBU informed the press that Saakashvili had been detained in the framework of a criminal investigation into his assistance to members of criminal organizations and concealment of their criminal activities (Article 256 of the Criminal Code).

Fesenko also said while Saakashvili has enough support to stage rallies, he lacks the power to force a government change.

"The fight against corruption is a key element in the development of EU-Ukraine relations, upon which the success of other reforms rests", the EU said in a statement, which referred to Nabu's claim that the prosecutor general's office had wrecked an undercover operation to catch bribe-taking officials.

Analysts in Kiev, however, don't see the Saakashvili case sparking protests big enough to challenge Poroshenko.

"We are watching those developments with interest", Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters. "They can make a lot of noise but most Ukrainians are wary of negative and unpredictable consequences of a new Maidan".

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